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Washington This Week

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  CSPAN    Washington This Week    News/Business. The week's events from Capitol  
   Hill, the White House and around the country. (Stereo)  

    December 8, 2013
    1:00 - 3:01am EST  

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but i also think that we don't but i also think that we don't in america -- we are more into john wayne than john dewey. john wayne gets the headlines, not john dewey. you take a place like abc school district in southern l.a. county, even through austerity, it has done extraordinarily well. actually, that is how i got to the solution-driven unionism. they solve problems. and what they have done is they have done this through the transitions of a retiring superintendent and a retiring union president. so this has really become baked into their culture. we have hawked this story to you guys a lot, and nobody wants to write about it except in orange county. the same in terms of cincinnati, new haven.
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there are places -- montgomery county -- there are actually places where through thick and thin, when people have real respectful relationships with each other and they start thinking about how they solve problems rather than win arguments, you see real collaboration and you see real working through a bunch of issues because teaching children is complicated. so arne duncan, i give him a lot of credit. he wanted to do this labor management collaborative, but you actually have to change the culture to make this the norm, not the exception. and that is what i think we need. now, this one we are focusing on the common core. so every interested party has an interest in focusing on that. but it has to be about not what
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the next doodad reform is, but really how we help students success. >> molly? >> i have a double-barreled political question. you mentioned it is too soon to talk about 2016. what is your focus for 2014, governors, congress, whatever? and you mentioned the warren plan. do you think this liberal populist direction for the democratic party can win elections outside of massachusetts, and is this an active debate for the democratic coalition now? >> ok, so when you poll the public on things like education, jobs -- people want good jobs. people want the american dream. if you look at doug sosnik's recent blog post, which i think
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was not in "atlantic" but in "politico"? sorry. i think it is totally right that one of the great unifying factors in this country was if you work hard, and play by a set of fairness rules, you should do ok. and our guidepost was -- are our kids, the next generation, are they doing better than we are? that has changed. and people are really anxious about that. they want to work hard and they want to do ok. so i think there is -- when i looked at the elections, in 2013, chris christie won in new jersey, that is true, but so did
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minimum wage expansion. terry mcauliffe won in virginia, walsh in boston, deblasio in new york. toledo, the person who was pro- public education -- >> could you speak up? >> sorry. the person who was pro-education won. so there is something going on in the country that is about, yes, working hard. nobody wants a handout. but let's level the playing field so we have great public education and we have ways for people to enter or reenter or re-envision the middle class. you may call that populism, but frankly when you hear pope francis start talking about that, too, i think we have had a lot, a lot of years of trickle-
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down economics and austerity- based economics, and it has not turned the country around. so this level of populism, progressivism, i think, is something that people are yearning for. so we will see, but i don't see that the republican party, at least in terms of the congress, i don't see that it is getting lots of hugs and kisses from people around the country. i see there is a lot of anger and a lot of anxiety that our lives are fundamentally different than what we thought they were going to be. so this notion of shared prosperity, investments in education, investments in infrastructure, and trying to figure out an economy that works for all i think is important. take tomorrow, fast food workers. 100 places where the fast food workers are going to be staging strikes. and who are the fast food workers now?
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it is no longer 18-year-old, 19- year-old, 20-year-old kid trying to get into college, or in college and doing this is a job. when you go to mcdonald's, when you go to walmart, you are seeing people in their 60s and 70s. this is wrong. and so i think there is a sense we will see. so, but, in terms of my belly wake, public education, on december 9 there will be over 60 events, 60 cities, counties, towns, and more coming every day, of parents, community groups, clergy, are union foundations talking about how to do bottom up reform, solution reform, community-based reform that actually helps kids be more
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successful than schools. so we are seeing this community work and this bottom-up organizing in public education, as well as in economic issues. job issues. >> mr. sellwood. >> you mentioned that we should not have a race to the bottom in this country. with what we saw in detroit, is does that raise the specter because other cities could resort to bankruptcy court to get out of pension promises they have made to workers? and secondly, how do you put this in a broader perhaps context of the fights that labor has fall in recent years with collective bargaining and pensions and perhaps the erosion of the social contract that other employees have enjoyed, which has been part of the deal for decades, and whether that is being unraveled?
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>> i think you are seeing ads and flows of this. in 2010, if you asked me that question, i would have quite a different answer than i have now. so, i mean, what i have seen around the country is some places like california actually start righting its economy. they passed a budget amendment two years ago, and you're seeing a huge change in terms of the california economy right now. they actually -- jerry brown took the opposite direction and said let's have a pro-growth, pro-worker, pro-public education strategy for moving our economy along. you are seeing the same thing in some ways in massachusetts. you are seeing it in maryland. so you're seeing some states make different choices.
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i think what has happened in detroit is a disaster. and i think it is a disaster because when you have a city go into bankruptcy, what does that say to the rest of the country? what is that saying to the people who live in that city right now? as i said, new york made a very different decision 30 years ago, in terms of a city as a public good, not a private entity. the private assets. it is a public good. so but the other question that you raise, which is the most important question i think, is that it is an american value
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that if you work hard and play by the rules, the promises that have been made to you will be kept. and the unraveling of that social contract is an unraveling of the democracy, the lockean democracy in america. and that i think is very, very, very troublesome. and particularly right now, when you see this huge disparity of income, where wall street hovers around 16,000, the highest it has ever been, yet you have the greatest income disparity that you have had well before the great depression. so not a surprise, but the labor movement, people are taking another look at it. they are saying we actually need a collective voice. the number of people in labor has actually gone up this year. my union is actually growing. >> would it be growing without the nurses? >> well, we are the second largest nurse union, and have
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been organizing nurses for about 20 years. >> i mean is the teacher portion growing as well? >> even with what happened in wisconsin and what happened in indiana, the teacher piece has stayed with us. and that is after 300,000 teachers were laid off since the great recession. so i'm not giving you as succinct an answer as i would like, but people realize they need a collective voice. what we are doing in my union and with the afl-cio made the center of their convention is that union needs density. we cannot be islands. we have to be about making sure there is economic opportunity, there is educational opportunity for all the people that we
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serve, that there are good public services, that there is good public education, that there is affordable higher education, and that there is quality health care. and that is our mission. you look at our mission statement, that is our mission. that is what we focus on every day. and when you do that, you are uplifting the goals. >> we will do the two last questions with carolyn and dan. >> what do you see in congress in terms of education laws, either major ones were smaller things? >> the first thing i would actually like to see in congress is comprehensive immigration reform. i mean, if you look at what the senate did, there is a path there that a lot of people compromised on to create the path to citizenship plus ways of making sure that we take people out of the shadows, we grow our economy, and we make sure our
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borders are secure. and so first and foremost, the house of representatives needs to focus on that. and i was part of the fast for families yesterday. having been arrested on the whole process of trying to get to immigration reform and whatnot. in terms of education, this is an issue. pre-k is an issue about showing whether the results actually really matter and what the research actually really matters, or whether the congress lives in an evidence-free zone. we have seen pre-k actually works to help level the playing field. the president has put a bill out there. the house of representatives actually have a bipartisan bill, that lies in the house of
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representatives and the senate, the miller-harkin bill that has two republicans from new york state. i give them huge props for being part of it, hannah and grim. that pre-k bill should sail through. if people want to make a smart investment, that should sail through but for the ideology of what the federal government should be spending. and what is sad about this, states like oklahoma, you know, have shown us that pre-k really works. so we are fighting for it. i don't really know what its prospects are. i don't feel as hopeful as i wish -- you know, as the evidence should dictate. but we are fighting, fighting, fighting for that pre-k bill. number two, i think we could see a bill about career tech ed. i think we could see a perkins
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reauthorization. i think this is one of those examples when you actually see business, higher education, k- 12, and labor coming together like you did around peak tech. the peak tech school that ibm in new york city, the colleges in new york city, the new york city department of education, and our union actually put together. it got a lot of attention because the president mentioned it in the state of the union, than the president went to see it, but this is a fantastic school. it's a school where ibm has back-mapped from what the entry
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position, the skills required for the interposition in ibm is, and we have put a six-year program together that also is aligned with the common core critical thinking, and every body, you go to the school, everybody loves it. so it is actually helping re- envision what career tech ed should look like in this new economy, and frankly, there is a lot of really great career tech ed schools throughout the country. toledo has one that is a terrific school, that has been aligned with gm. aviation high school in new york city, aligned with the aviation industry. transit tech in new york city. so i think there is some steam and a headwind that could actually push perkins through the gate, but it has to be formulaic. meaning we have to have a formula for this, no more competitive grants. you cannot keep doing winners and losers in the nation when all communities really should
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have high-quality career tech ed. >> last question, mr. thomason. >> it seems to me, at least, that like politics, education is pretty local. and today's teachers you think are trained well enough to handle situations like zero- tolerance policies that are so bizarre that produce incredible incidents and publicity, kids being held up and suspended for childish things that are completely out of the norm, the lack of parental involvement in the inner cities producing what we have today, because there are not any parent sometimes. they may be grandparents, but that is about it. how do you deal with those kinds of things on a local basis? it is all well and good to talk
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about national policy, but they don't really deal with what this is about. >> so one of the -- look, i often close my eyes and think about what it was like to be a student, what it was like to be a high school teacher in crown heights brooklyn, what it was like to be a local president before answer any of these questions. because you are so -- you know, the policy from 30,000 feet is really different from the reality and a schoolhouse, and a schoolyard, in the school hall. and so those experiences are the hard connections to make. but in your question, you actually answered the complexity of what to look education is. we are the first responders of poverty. we are the first responders to all of the social issues in america, and we don't actually our educators, whether they are
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the bus driver, the school secretary, guidance counselor or teacher, they never get even in the good times the trading and the support that they pretty much need to deal with all of the situations that we confront. but in the times of austerity and privatization and hyper- testing, that is why they are so demoralized. but this is the amazing thing about school teachers. people go into teaching because they want to make a difference in the lives of children. and if we actually honored that heart connection, if we honored it and used it as the value it is, it is invaluable. then we could turn a lot of these things around. because our job, whether a child has parents or one parent or has their grandparents, our job is to help all children succeed to their god-given potential. that's our job.
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that is part of the reason why he cannot just be our job. and it has to be a team unity responsibility. and that is why we actually focused on this whole notion of reclaiming the promise and this notion of focusing on not just teachers, as important as they are, and also the wraparound services, engaging curriculum about critical thinking, but also having things like music. so that is why we talk of lot about wraparound services, not just health care services but breakfast, lunch, and dinner. one of the worst things the congress is doing right now is cutting the snap program. so when half of your kids in public education, half of our kids come to school poor, they are poor, in the south and the west, it is more than half.
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i'm a big believer in we have to be the best we can be as school teachers. you heard what i said before. that if somebody cannot teach, they should not be there. he have to prepare teachers like finland prepares teachers. we have to value them like singapore and china and canada value them. we have to actually have the common core, but he was right. delete testing, at least for a while, but also make sure we have art and music and the tools teachers need to help. we have parents involved and engaged in welcoming, safe, collaborative environments, and we have to have the wraparound services because we are the first responders to poverty. and whether that is breakfast, lunch, and dinner, like i saw at the school in cincinnati, or whether it is what we're doing at mcdowell in terms of really wrapping services around all of these schools in the eighth worst county in america, when you do those things, schools succeed.
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and more important, the nation succeeds. thank you. >> thank you very much. appreciate it. [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2013] [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [no audio]
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paul singer looks into efforts to reintroduce the health care law. and the 2014 midterms. the marasco talks about november jobs numbers. in the state of u.s. chinese relations. washington journal is live on c- span. >> in this after war, things escalate quickly.
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can got it seems loving out of control. with adam hacking -- hacking. -- packing. pressures,he other she held the gun and he came out with a shotgun, and tried to jam it out or so she would get the gun and pull the trigger at them. >> the return home is half the story. david finkel follows then of the infantry sunday night at 8:00. has one of the
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largest education achievement gaps between white and minority students. the connecticut governor spoke about his efforts to focus on early childhood education to close the gap. >> good afternoon, everyone. we will go ahead and get started. how are you doing this afternoon? i am director of education policy studies at the american enterprise institute. welcome all of you for this promising and intriguing conversation with connecticut governor dan malloy. i am delighted to have you here with us and those of you watching at home on live stream or on c-span 2.
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we are going to be going for an hour. the format will be pretty straightforward. first, the governor has been kind enough to agree to share some thoughts on the do's and don'ts of school reform in connecticut. what are some of the lessons they have learned? i will have an opportunity to chat with the governor for 15 or 20 minutes. we will open it up for conversation and q&a. governor malloy was first elected in 2010. took office in january of 2011. he is connecticut's first democratic governor in 20 years. he faced the largest per capita deficit in the country.
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total debt of about three point $5 billion. he did several terms as mayor of stamford, connecticut, promising to make 2012 the year of education. in connecticut, he tackled a reform agenda in a state that has long been known for one of the nation's widest racial achievement gaps. the governor took the lead in passing one of the nations more dramatic education bills. it was public act -- some of the packages required a new teacher evaluation pilot in which 45% will be based on student learning. the governor's package created a commissioners network similar to the recovery school district.
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it has the ability to take authority over 25 of the state's lowest performing schools. an increased charter school funding. the figure will go to 11,500 by fiscal 2015. >> it is great to be with you. i appreciate the opportunity to speak about an issue that is very dear to my heart.
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i like to talk about what really needs to happen in the united states and put it into an appropriate context. we have been at the business of educating on a public basis for a long time. if you look at the rhetoric that is frequently used around education issues, it is old rhetoric. the distribution of opportunity is what we usually measure our success by. where else would you hold yourself as successful? a substantial percentage for people. in education, we had this idea that we need to operate -- offer the opportunity to all of our students to learn. that did not pay attention to
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the deficits that they might have come to school with, did not take into consideration issues like poverty, family alignment. we kept merrily going down the same road. in comparison to test scores, all of a sudden, we found out that not only are we not leading, we are far behind. that will have a long-term impact on the economy. this believe that we have to get out of opportunity sharing into success sharing that has driven much of what i talk about on education. if you start to think about
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that, it changes your whole view of education. i did step into a situation with one of the largest achievement gaps along racial lines. that is the reality in connecticut. we have high highs and very low lows. needed to do something about that. we need to hold ourselves accountable for what we are doing. by the political leaders -- i have to say that i am envious of teachers. their ability to impact, the young people and the families is
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this unbelievable gift that many have accepted as their calling. none of us are perfect, the reality is the state of connecticut is filled with teachers working very hard to get it right. they are demonstrating a willingness to change, a fundamental change being embraced in the state of connecticut. we have to realize that teachers need the resources to be ready to do what they have to do. we are asking a lot more of them and it is one of the reasons why in the state of connecticut, we have gone in a different direction than many states across the country.
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we are adding funds to education. the 30 lowest performing school districts are getting the bulk of the money. it is by agreement on how that money is going to be spent. i'm also fond of saying that this is very much about changing our habits. only sat down and looked at all of our school districts and looked at those low performing districts, in almost every one of those, there was at least one outstanding school. several of them outstanding schools. we are more likely to repeat our
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failures than we are our successes. we are more likely to explain away our successes as a way of adding some psychological support. that is a mindset that has to change. we are doing that. not only do we have an alliance, but we also found that a commissioners network where we are empowered to work with that 25 lowest performing schools. they are applying because we have interventions. different styles of turnaround. we have a school in new haven which is run by the teachers. a new experimental model which
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is showing great success. we have another school in bridgeport with a different model of operations. very much -- a great degree of involvement by its teachers union. it is not a one-size-fits-all assumption when it comes to turning around the low performing schools. it is a lot of attention, a little bit of handholding and getting people on board and bringing them along. what you find out if people really do want to do better. they have not necessarily seen the road that will allow them to do that. once you give them the ability to lift their head and see at target and to make progress and measure that rock rest, it is engaged in by more people than you might otherwise assume.
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this cannot be viewed simply as a pre-k problem. it is a pre-k issue and it is also a college issue. we have failed to properly prepare. our retiring machinist faster than we are creating personnel for those operations. you have to make a significant change. pre-k, k-12, higher education, things we are spending a lot of our time on trying to turn around and make work. you have to get a buy-in by all of the stakeholders. that includes teachers. to raise the next generation, but we also need parent buy- in's.
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i am also fond of saying that you are not going to get as much buy-in by parents, who you have poorly educated yourself. that is a certain reality. giving parents new tools to change their behaviors is very important. it is true that we have to work with the teachers. a new system of evaluation is now being implemented in the state of connecticut. that does not happen easily, it is not an easy thing to get done. work had already begun. that was actively participated in administrators.
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that does not make a rollout any easier. i had a discussion with my sister and one of my sister-in- law's yesterday and she was complaining that to get all of her data onto the system took her about three hours to do. i reminded her, once that is in, it it is in. three hours is a lot of time to spend, but once we start this program, it it will be the new way of doing things. what is so very important is that we win teachers over. i believe that we are making progress. the jargon discussion very
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important with respect to what is going on. embracing the kind of change that we have to embrace. i previously -- above and beyond, we are investing $24 million additionally in technology. one of the things that amazes me about education and government in general, our underinvestment in technology cripples us. common core was decided on before i was governor of the state of connecticut. i was not one of the founders of the concept. i embrace it.
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based on scholastic poll -- 72% of teachers embrace it. the remaining folks are undecided about the issue. those teachers who have thought about it and studied it and have been doing their preparatory work do believe that concentrating on fewer things, but going deeper is the right way to go. you have the legislative package. you have a new evaluation system. it is not easy. that has to be made clear.
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once we get through this, we are going to have a clear road to higher achievement in our schools. we will get away from this concept that we have an obligation to distribute opportunity. hold ourselves responsible. several of our lowest performing school districts, we need to hold ourselves, the governor, the mayors, the parents, the teachers, and to hold ourselves accountable for what is going on in our schools. we need to hold ourselves accountable and that is what i am trying to do. i think we will sit down and take some questions. [applause]
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>> [inaudible] last week, you may -- stephanie simon wrote a much discussed story. the obama administration has supported teacher evaluation. are there particular points that have been surprising or more severe? >> there is a reality. in one of your articles, he came to some of the same conclusions. it is hard. it is hard in a state like connecticut that had taken a
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backseat on reform for a long period of time. massachusetts had been on school reform for about -- their graduation rate went up at a time when ours went down by one 1.8%. we have turned that around already on the graduation rate. they have implemented a lot of things. when it comes to doing common core and making adjustments to some of the improvements, they have an easier life than we do. we are trying to do a lot more any much shorter period of time. it is not complicated because --
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by not coming to the table, it is rather like freaking out on the garden hose. you want to hold people accountable. you want to to institute the core. that is a hard job. >> there is tension over nude teachers systems evaluations. metrics was a factor. i am curious how that has played out. where do you have questions about how effectively this is being done? fox there are some concerns. you are going -- maybe take some
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additional time. having said that, we have studied a lot of these changes in other states. that first year is always difficult. once people get on board, they understand it is not a risk for them. the vast majority of our teachers and school systems are doing a great job. we need to hold ourselves accountable. one of the ways to do that is to measure student achievement. to use that as a tool to understand how we are doing. ed koch would ask people how he was doing. we did not do that in education. >> what do you say to teachers
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who say, this is distorting the purpose of schooling? >> i have probably used to some of that rhetoric myself over the past 18 years. there is nobody teaching third grade spelling without doing a test every friday. nobody is teaching mathematics without holding a kid accountable for doing a test every wednesday. i think what we are really talking about is using tests for different purposes. it is like using a test for a mirror. you need to work with your
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stakeholders, your teachers, representatives, administrators. connecticut was working on what that would look like. one called for immediate implementation of the system even before we started the process. all of us in education, whether it is on the political side, on the union representation, have to speak about this a little bit more clearly. we do have an honest and frank conversation about what we are getting at and we have to make sure that we do not simply teach the test. an emphasis on critical thinking
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is so very important. >> in light of thinking about the role of the test, the president of the american federation of teachers has expressed concern that in new york -- they are ruling out teacher of valuation systems that teachers will wind up being evaluated -- i am curious how you think of that challenge. do you think it is a real concern? i think all of those things are true. i cannot remember which one, they talked about how many teachers they have counseled out of teaching.
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the overt time making people understand where they fit in the world -- they have worked on making people understand where they fit in the world. if connecticut had done some of these things years before, what you describe would not be so difficult. we are giving people time. this will not change overnight. the mechanics of what we are doing change, but we are giving people time to get used to the new system. we are giving options to our school system about what tests they want to offer this year. we said hey, you want to use kinetic standard tests, you can use those. you want to use the protocol, use that. we do not want to make you use both. so make a choice. they are ready for it. the school boards are ready for it. that doesn't believe you are not afraid. it means you have more dialogue
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and work on it closely together. far better a caret than a stick. >> they have commended the new haven teacher agreement. at the state level, how does this play out? >> one of the alternatives was the new haven school district. now they gave them a roadmap. they are all invited act to the
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school, and they are given a roadmap, and some of them are advancing back to class level. that was a decision made by teachers. they have been very active in new haven, getting to the point where there is a higher degree of engagement. it does not mean there are not a lot of people worried about change. they are there. you are seeing more people embracing that change. >> you talked about it a little bit. it was adopted by the states. we know that 68% of adults have never heard of this thing, but we have seen an explosion of
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concern. what kinds of concerns have you heard in the state of connecticut, and how are you trying to address those? >> there are those who try to make a political argument. the political argument runs that those people in washington have caused this to happen, and we should resist as well as we can implementation of common core. it runs in the face of reality. a bunch of them got together and decided in a worldwide competition we were not doing very well, and we were not educating our children to the level we needed to remain competitive. it had almost nothing to do with the federal government at the outset. now it has been a tactic of barack obama himself adopting
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this common core. a survey in connecticut, 72% of teachers, we are talking about math, science, literacy -- embrace it. only two percent or three percent inc. it will lead to lower or worse results. others are not taking up position. when you have that embracing of a concept and teachers and administrators have had the time to look at what people want to emphasize, they are moving in the right direction. we have seen no movement to delay or abandon our common core. we need to hold ourselves accountable for success.
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>> it you think about the common core? what are the key strengths? is there anything about the implementation you are nervous about? >> there are fewer things but deeper. the ability to use those things we are learning successfully. whether it is in support of critical thinking or in mathematics being able to answer it promptly, i think that is the real strength. i think one-size-fits-all has not been working particularly well. we do it in the hopes that they will devote the rest of their lives to the education system. that was not working as well as it needed to on an international
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basis for the united states. we decided to go deeper on the emphasis on critical thinking. >> what are the keys going to be to make sure the vision of instruction is delivered upon? >> there are a couple of things. we have schools and school districts that don't have the technology to deliver it as well as they could. that is why we stepped forward and announced $24 million in additional upgrades. at the same time it was recognized those school districts are some of their own investments as well. another thing we have done, for the first time we are budgeting
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state dollars for continuing education, as we urge people to change their approach to continuing education. you come to the auditorium and make everyone here the same lecture, the chance for a real discussion between teachers and those leading the discussion. we are trying to change that as well to be supportive of the broader and larger change we want to see made across the state. >> how much per pupil are you spending these days? and >> it varies widely from district to district. it is one of the largest state programs in the grant in allocation. no district has lost any money since i have become governor. the vast majority of additional dollars goes to those most in
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need. that is a break from the past. previously if you put money into the fund, it would be distributed as it had in the past. it doesn't make sense to do that when you realize you have much bigger problems in a much smaller number of districts that you have to find a way to turn around, and focusing on that is important. i am not saying every dollar has been spent wisely. we have to be accountable for how we spend those dollars going forward. i have around numbers. depending on how you read it, we are spending in excess of
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$12,000 across the board. some districts are spending substantially more than that. others are spending less than that. if you look at the average, there are two different ways to measure it. we are spending a lot of money on education in connecticut. >> do you think that number ought to be higher across the and board? >> i think it ought to be higher in a lot of leases. different districts face different problems. if you have a non-english learner population you have to ring a long, don't be surprised you find smaller classrooms will be helpful, and smaller classrooms cost more money. a different model might not work him better. if you are dealing with issues of poverty, and poverty as we
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know is concentrated in our society in certain district. some of those are rural. many are urban. don't be surprised if different models need to be used, and in some cases those are expensive. we have to hold everyone accountable for how they spend every dollar and to make sure the dollars are being spent wisely. when we look at the districts, in every district it was one that performed across the board. we found those models were not being replicated in all the schools in that same district. you don't have as much money. that cost money or we cannot do it, or you could argue that is not a model that will work
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system wide. we no longer school days work. that is why connecticut is in partnership on extending hours we have three school district actively engaged in adding to the curriculum every year. i have been to two schools in the district, a great success. numbers rising much more rapidly than anywhere else, by and large. on an average basis, better than anywhere else. test scores in the commissioner saw increases. we have to replicate it as opposed to our failures. >> as you mentioned, one concern is what works. in colorado a month ago there
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was a billion-dollar proposed levy by the state senator. it went down to a 2-1 defeat. i'm curious if you think that speaks to public appetite for additional dollars at this point? has that got any relevance? >> i have been governor for three years. if we hadn't done the things we did to support education, we would have lost thousands of teachers in the state of connecticut. >> by doing the things to support education you mean? >> additional dollars, at the same time driving a reform agenda. doing both. going to a school system like new haven or bridgeport or new london or new britain and taking teachers out of the building and not replacing them is not a way you are going to drive higher
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achievement, so we came up with a different model, and that was to concentrate where we are going to spend additional dollars, with higher proven need. i think that is a big break with the past that isn't fully understood what the long-term implications are. >> one of the proposals you put forward is the expansion of pre- k. this has been a talking point nationally. i am curious what vision you have. >> i have been with pre-k a long time. when i was mayor at stanford i chose to move stanford in the direction of the inning in a -- of being in a position to guarantee all four-year-old children. we weren't going to be the educator of every child entering prekindergarten exactly the same way.
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wheret to a hybrid model we actually turn to a not-for- profit agency that has overseen childcare services in the community and said, we want you to run a program. we took an old doping and ande took an old building retrofitted it so it could house 300 four-year-olds. we went into the community and got folks signed up. everyone had to have some skin in the game. they had to take some money out of their pocket but we made sure , it was scaled to their income. we provided additional services. we help parents learn english. we provided medical services. we fed the kids. lo and behold, it works. longer school days, starting education earlier. having a larger vocabulary when they walk into kindergarten
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leads to additional success. it's less time spent catching up. i used to explain it a the following way. imagine you are a first-year teacher, and you go into a classroom, and half the kids have had a prekindergarten learning experience of quality. they know their letters and colors. they know their literacy skills, and the other half don't. then when you ask that teacher what are you going to spend more time on, and the reality is we shouldn't ask the question. because everybody should have that. we know it works. that is one way to close the achievement gap at the end of 13 years by closing it at the beginning. it is more bang for the buck. >> how did you find resources for this? >> we changed the model so we
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could actually provide the experience to more children at less cost. when you think of most programs they are expensive models. it is the reason we have not thended those models in school district. it was too expensive. it is seen as a luxury. we require kindergarten through 12. we did not require pre-k. >> once you change the model and you get to more cost-effective model, we would like to change the model. >> what are some suggestions to make it more if? >> it is simple biology. they are not going to learn for eight hours straight. the day has to be broken up. a fair amount of the day is spent supporting learning but not necessarily in instruction.
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who is running the classroom i think is an effective and important issue. if you find a way to supervise those activities to be learning but not tight up the teacher for the whole day, then you'd get a lot more done. >> this means more adults who are not necessarily trained teacher but supporting roles. >> that is part of it. it also gives scheduling ability. paying everyone as a certified teacher for all the programs may not make sense. >> one last question, and then let's open it up. i am curious if there are any other takeaways from your time as mayor.
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-- from your tenure as mayor. >> we have to find a way to make educational spending more effective. when i became mayor of the city of stanford we had an i.t. department for the city. we had an i.t. department for the board of education. we had computers aging out before they were installed. there were enough people to get them installed in schools. we decided to put the efforts together and to work together, and we worked at technology integration. we lifted the education standards in a short amount of time. when i became mayor, if you talk about communities, the single
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largest investment almost every community across the country has has been in schools. it is the physical infrastructure it has a lot of , stuff in the building, but if you scratch the surface as i did, i realized the guy overseeing maintenance of buildings had a doctorate. counseling. the fact there was not a single engineer who actually works for the system at that time. to find a way to save money in the long run by plowing more into education, and we did that as well. >> let's open it up. be kind enough to identify your self by name and affiliation.
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if we are 15 seconds in and i don't see a question coming i will move to someone else. >> i remember when you were mayor and we visited stanford. my question goes back to the relationship between schools and general purpose. in stanford you are one of the pioneers in pushing the kind of relationship you just discussed. my question relates to this philosophy, particularly in light of the changes. have you been able to take the kinds of initiatives at the state level, bringing juvenile justice and breaking down isolation of schools from the traditional and historical isolation of schools from general-purpose government? >> yes and no. some of it is you have to affect
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structural change. i will go back to early childhood education. we took operations out of four different departments and put them in one office at the department of education, but now we have one at the department of education. they have it all together. that is going to allow us to bring a more efficient delivery system on board for early childhood education. there is this dynamic between general government and education. one will pick on the other and point to the weaknesses of the other. that happens on a regular basis i'm trying to lift people to
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where they are actually working together is very difficult to do. i am finding it more difficult than i would have thought. having said that, i think we are making progress. i think what is really going on is we are very dependent on property taxes. beyond the cost sharing dollars, everything else is robert e -- is tied to local property taxes. those are not growing anymore. they are forced to find ways to save money and to work together. i think the folks that will lead are looking at how do you support education? it is going to drive education. >> as far as funding in education, doesn't look like it is going to be flat, down, up? >> it's a little early to tell.
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this has been the slowest recovery from a recession in the post-world war ii era. the folks in washington seem to put the brakes on the economy every six months or so, so they are not helpful with respect to real growth in the economy. i think americans will put more money in education when it is doing better. or when they confront the fact that the funding education is actually hurting. i think they are going to have bigger pressures. then of course you have legal requirements within an constitutional requirements within states. we guarantee and education for
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-- we guarantee and education for every child. they have allowed for the growth of super education, overseeing about 41% of the kids in the greater hartford school district and surrounding school districts they would already be attending. that is a constitutional answer to an educational problem. >> thank you, governor. i am a senior adviser to the education foundation. you opine that we know what works, yet there seems to be a
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consensus that the weakest link seems to be our secondary schools. the president announced a grant in factthe president announced a program to try to reinvent the american high school. many people believe we are no longer meeting the needs of people. are you trying to reinvent the factory model of schools that go >> i would say yes. we have a number of initiatives doing that, including allowing high school students to take courses at college. co.-locating -- -locating schools on college
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campuses, or inviting them to have courses in the school. i think we failed most of the kids in the early years. we pay a bigger price in the later years. a child not doing well in third grade, the chances are low through middle school and high school. so we have got to do a better job there. i think we have to think about education differently. i think we have a lot of kids who are under challenged and a lot of kids who are over challenged because they didn't get the exposure they needed to get. i think building into schools the ability to respond to those two things i think is going to be an important in the future. i think driving advanced courses is going to be important.
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>> college completion rates have been garnering a lot of attention. i am curious if you have had a chance to tackle it. >> we are working on it. we have had to raise tuition like a lot of states had in the downturn. as there is less money coming in the door we require an additional contributions by students or parents. the idea that the student loan program in the united states is designed to make money, $48 billion a year, does not make sense at the time when we are talking about how much debt students are carried. $48 billion in profits is hard to justify. one thing as tuition goes up, and a very high percentage of our in-state students are getting some degree of aid and
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making sure they are getting real value is extremely important, and making sure we are offering the right course work that is going to give a young person the skills of a slightly older person. i was taking a road trip, and i go to a community college in enfield, connecticut. they had been offering an education program for 12 years and had 98% to 100% placement
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rates for 10 of those years. we have 12 community colleges. it makes no sense in a state that is number two per capita in aerospace, number two per capita in submarine development and construction. fact, almost all of our industry that remains in connecticut is high-value added as opposed to lower value added. we were not reshaping our schools to produce the human w needed to be successful. -- produce the human capital that we needed to be successful. >> did you find out why not? >> yes, it was outside the box. we now have that at community colleges. that model is being used to rebuild the high schools, which the state runs.
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yes, we are changing. >> thank you, i really appreciate it. i want to thank you for all the school safety measures. secondly, and rick alluded to secretary duncan's piece. has the federal government become irrelevant to the work you are doing, or is there a role the federal government can play that complements your role? -- complements the role the state and local government can play? >> even if you don't get one of those grants, it is a learning experience and is driving change in school district after school district.
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i think duncan is very relevant in driving the conversation. schools are run at the local level. the state runs a few schools, technical schools, but they really run at a local level. who is going to lead the discussion? who is going to hold a mirror to people's face and say, are you really as successful as you think you are, and can you refer to yourself as successful if you failed to educate properly 40% of your children? somebody has to ask that question. i have had a long political career. i was not a supporter of no child left behind as it was originally drafted. i think there were inherent weaknesses, but i have to give bush and kennedy some credit. they finally held up the mirror and said, look at these results.
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how can you get up every day and continue to have that the way you are supplying this most important governmental service? i don't think washington is irrelevant until it makes itself irrelevant. i think washington can help lead discussions. this is one of the few areas where i think they have had a very positive impact of late. >> governor when you were , working on the 2012 legislation you went out across the state and really took it on the chin time and time again and had to work with the reluctant legislature and again in 2013. can you talk a little bit about using your office to pull along the constituents to a final resolution? >> i've had to do that a couple
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of times with a couple of issues. inheriting a state with the largest per capita deficit representing 17% of total revenue, and i had to go in a different direction. when a lot of states are saying we are going to cut, cut, cut, we were actually realizing our gap was too big to cut our way out of it. i went on the road and got got beat up. somebody had to go on the road. there were a lot of people mad at me. a lot of folks spending a lot of money to try to defeat the organized effort at school reform, even though they supported certain aspect of it. it was a total picture that they they didn't want to see. they might carve out a corner they like, but it was a total picture. somebody has to be a leader. somebody has to have the discussion. somebody has to bring the
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discussion to the community. someone has to demonstrate you mean business. we want to work with them, but we need to change direction. they're failing to those are properly educate 40% of the kids. some of the largest school district. you cannot succeed when you are doing that. when you look at connecticut demographically as one of the more rapidly aging states, you are throwing away 20% of your kids in your school district and throwing away your opportunities. someone had to say that. i felt that was my job as governor. the lieutenant governor was by my side during those times. somebody had to make it ok to get the job done, and i was happy to do it. i had to do it a third time for gun safety host sandy hook. i felt the proposals were languishing in the legislature and i stepped forward and outlined what i thought was
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commonsense gun safety legislation. i got yelled at by a lot of gun enthusiasts, but someone has to have the discussion. that is part of leadership. i would never shy away from it. >> governor when you talk to , your colleagues seeking to push different legislative packages, are there particular takeaways from your experiences on safety, the education package that might useful to folks in -- that might be useful to folks -- in othertact contexts? >> i think some things are harder to do as a democrat, and some things are harder as a republican. education reform has been hard to do. that was the real test in connecticut. i referenced earlier massachusetts was really getting
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into reform far earlier than we did. it was a contest between governors and legislators in different parties. i had to bring everybody along. my predecessors have been fairly inactive in the past. i had to fly in the face of what many would consider traditional constituencies, which also meant we have to bring those folks on. you cannot do top-down. it is not going to work. it has got to be a combination of leadership, getting by and getting implementation going, and staying at it year after year. the prior question with reference to the 12 when we got the past gauge past -- when we got the package passed, 12 would have gotten it passed, and some tried to undo the funding for the package in the last
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legislative session. i wouldn't let that happen. i would veto whatever it was attached to, and we would be back working on a new budget. it is about leadership. it is about trying to do the right thing without hurting other people's rights. that's true in school safety, that's true in gun safety. sandy hook was the gigantic wake-up call for the united states. not that there hadn't previously been shootings in schools, but we hadn't seen a mass casualty situation where 20 children lost their lives and teachers and other professionals. an interesting thing about connecticut, we have a state heroine and a state hero. they were both teachers. if you look at some of the finest and most courageous acts committed on december 14, it was
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the principal and education professional who tried to stop adam lanza from killing those children and other adults. teachers are good, hard-working people. they just need support. we need to get everyone pushing -- pulling in the same direction. that is what i tried to do. i probably used the wrong language more than once. it's not because i don't appreciate what teachers do. i grew up with a severe learning disability. i wouldn't be here today but for the intervention of educators, overcoming dyslexia and motor control difficulties is why i am here today. i have this appreciation. i come from a family of teachers as well. but when things are not working,
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for black kidst and brown kids and poor kids in our school system, then you have to change direction. it's not about opportunity. it's not about saying if all the stars align for the kids than you have done your job, it is not about that. it's about holding ourselves to higher standards where we measure ourselves by successes as opposed to our desires. >> thank you so much for joining us today. >> thank you. [applause] >> should like to wish you all a good return to work after thanksgiving. [captioning performed by national captioning institute]
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>> sunday, a discussion on the deal concerning iran's nuclear row gram with house intelligence committee chairman mike rogers of michigan. is sunday at 10:35 a.m. eastern on c-span. >> as you walk in, their tables outside with lots of pamphlets. the pamphlets are all how the government is trying to take away your right to own guns and the government is doing this and obama is doing that and obamacare is terrible, so those were the guys i wanted to talk to, but they were the guys with the leaflets, with the ideas. i said i am an academic and research are and i am doing research on these organizations, these ideas and trying to understand man who believe the stuff.
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a bunch of them looked at me suspiciously and asked me questions. i just said, look, here's what i am. i don't get it. here's my job. i want to understand how you guys see the world. i want to understand that your view will -- don't understand your worldview. you will not convince me in mind when i convince you. what is on the table is i want to understand why you think the way you do. >> downward mobility, racial and gender equality, michael kimmel on the fears, anxieties and rage of angry white men. sunday night at nine on afterwards. >> online for december's book tv book club, we want to know what your favorite books were in 2013. thought the month, join other leaders to discuss the notable books published this year. -- go to bookt or tv.org.
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colombian president juan manuel santos was in washington this week for talks with president obama. he spoke at the national press club about his country's free- trade agreement with the u.s., the war on drugs, and peace talks with colombian rebels. this is one hour. >> good afternoon and welcome to the national press club. i am a is angela keen reporter for bloomberg news and the 106 president of the national press club. we are the world's leading professional organization for journalists. we are committed to the future of our profession with programming such as this. we want to foster a free press worldwide. for more information, please visit our website at www.press.org. today need to go grams -- to donate to programs on behalf of our members worldwide, i would like to welcome our speaker and those of you in our audience today.
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if you hear applause, i would note that members of the general public are also attending. it is not a lack of evidence of journalistic objectivity. i would like to welcome our c- span public radio audiences. you can follow the action on twitter using the #npclunch. after our guest speech concludes we will have a question and , answer session and i will ask as many questions as time permits. now that like to introduce our guest. excellencyoduce his the ambassador for the republic luiz carlos play a guess the ambassador for the republic of , colombia, the minister of foreign affairs for the republic of colombia, and skipping over the podium, alison fitzgerald, an investigative reporter at the center for public integrity and chairwoman of the national press club's speakers committee. we also have the vice president of the national press club and a
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current professor at george washington university and the national press club member who organized today's event. thank you, myron. our guest today could very well have been a member of the national press club if he were not the president of colombia. as a journalist, president juan manuel santos was a colonist and deputy director of a newspaper. he was president of the freedom of expression commission for the inter-american press association. he has published several books. he cowrote a book with former british prime minister tony blair. ," he also on terror am co-
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describes the most important actions during his tenure against the fork group -- farc group. perhaps he will tell us why he made a career change from journals into politics and he came the president of colombia in 2010. he was elected for a four-year term that was elected -- extended to 2014. he received more votes than any candidate in the history of colombian democracy. two weeks ago he announced that he will run for reelection in next year's presidential election saying he wants to finish the peace process that he started. he wants to be able to finish the peace process that he started. he campaigned in 2010 on a platform to carry on the offensive against the leftist guerrillas who waged war against the government for decades. as president, he opened talks with the main rebel group, farc. reached a draft agreement recently and we expect
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that president santos will tell us about the negotiations and the chances for an ultimate peace agreement. these agreements could well be the central issue in next year's presidential election. one opponent is calling for an end to the peace talks. also opposing the peace negotiation is former president of colombia who says he favors president, will take a harder stance against the rebels. please let me that join me in giving a warm press club welcome to colombian president one man president juan manuel santos. [applause] >> thank you. thank you very much. thank you for attending. for me it is a great pleasure to be here amongst my fellow journalists. why did i switch from journalism to politics?
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i still ask that question myself. [laughter] i was seeing the letterhead of one of the rooms, the first amendment launch, i remember reading thomas jefferson when he said he was struggling for the first amendment and he said there can be no good government without absolute freedom of expression in the press. after he was president, he said that there cannot be a good government with complete freedom of the press. [laughter] i will tell you at the end of my government whether that is true or not. thank you very much for being here. i will try to summarize what i have been doing in washington and the u.s.. i will give you some basic
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messages and then open it up for questions. i've been here two days. yesterday in miami, i went to the university of miami. i had a meeting with the colombian community of miami. this morning i went to a meeting with the inter-american dialogue a breakfast there. i was a member of the inter- american dialogue for many years. i was co-vice chairman. then i had a very interesting and fruitful visit to the white house with president obama. i am here as his guest on an official visit. then i went to another group and spoke to the general assembly of the oas. i then went to speak with the head of the democratic party in the house, nancy pelosi.
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i spoke with members of the house in the democratic party and then i spoke with speaker boehner and a few of the republicans in the house. i have been working with some of them for many years. not only as foreign minister. -- not only as president now i , but also as foreign minister. now i am here. i had a dinner at the center for yesterdayi had a dinner at the center for american progress. it is a think tank. i'm having dinner tonight with the independent counsel. they have asked me to address them. what have been the main messages i have tried to convey to the u.s. officials and to the u.s. public? first, i would like to thank the
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u.s. government and both parties for the help that they have given us since we started collaborating. i was beginning to the president -- i was telling the president of the university of miami yesterday. we were discussing how things had changed in the last 13 years. any president who came to miami went elsewhere -- this time i went to the university. this explains how things have changed in our relations. we have been trying to make an effort to go beyond the security challenge we have fortunately made tremendous progress, but colombia needs much more security.
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-- needs much more than security. that is why i took the decision when i won the election to work in other fronts besides security. i want to open the agenda to the world and two other matters besides security. that does not mean that we have neglected security. we have continued to advance in terms of security. in these three years, we have given the worst demolishing blows to the farc, the elm. we took them 47 of their -- we took down 47 of their leaders. the number of people with arms in these organizations are at their lowest in history. we took a kind of counting of their members. i also decided to open a peace
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process with them simply because every war has two ends through some kind of a negotiation. i thought the conditions were correct. the conditions were present. i took the decision to open the negotiations very conscious of the fact that it would be more complex, it would be difficult, i would have enemies. -- it would have enemies. but i was also very conscious that this was the correct step and the correct objective. making war is more popular and easier than making peace. i can tell you because i have been on both sides as minister of defense and now as president. we have advanced in the peace process much more than any other moment in our history. we have had many attempts to
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make peace after 50 years of war. we managed to negotiate first the agenda that is a major step in any process to end conflict. if you agree on the agenda, you have agreed 50% of what you need and we did that. we did that more than a year ago. we negotiated five points in the agenda. we have agreed on two of those five points. the first point has been an agreement on what to do with our rural areas and how to develop them. this is extremely important because the guerrillas -- a
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rural guerrilla was born there. re. for them this issue is very important. we are to have an agreement on that point. the second important point is political participation. how is it that we are going to open the space for them? what will the transition be from bullets to boats? from arms -- to votes? from arms to arguments? how will we open this space for them? colombian democracy needed this anyway. progress in strengthening our democracy and the progress of our people in the democratic process. we have reached agreement on those two points. at this very moment, we are negotiating a third item which
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is drug trafficking. i put this item on the agenda deliberately. there is one very simple reason. they have already said that they are not drug traffickers. they profit from it, but they are not drug traffickers. if that is so, and if you want to become legal, then you have to become allies of the state against drug trafficking. if we succeed in the objective which has argued been agreed -- which has already been agreed upon by the two parts -- columbia -- colombia without coca --just think what that would mean to colombia, and the u.s. colombia has been the major exporter of cocaine for the last 40 years. can you imagine what that would
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mean if there is change and something disrupts the flow of cocaine to american cities and the region? it would be a major breakthrough. that is extremely important. besides the other points of having peace in our country, that is important. i have thanked both president obama and the authorities that have been supporting this peace process. the process needs support. we have enemies who do not want the process to have a good ending. some people think that we are legitimizing farc. my answer is that you do for -- if you do not sit down and speak with your enemy, how we reach
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-- how do we reach piece tackle they think that we can kill the last of the guerrillas and it would take another 50 years to do that. the way to end a conflict of this order is by sitting down and negotiating a final agreement. that is what we are trying to do. some people are saying that we giving in to the farc or giving in to the castro or shop -- or chavez regime. this is absolute nonsense. we saw from venezuela and cuba that they have influence. they have been helpful and i thank them for their help but we want a very simple objective.
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we want to have peace in my country. we are not negotiating our economic model. we are not negotiating our political institutions or our democratic principles. we are simply negotiating a transition of these people from their violence and pursuit of power through violent means to their pursuit of power through democratic and legal means. that is what we are negotiating. today if you asked me how optimistic i am. i continued to say that i am cautiously optimistic. this is a complex process. 50 years of war will not be resolved in 15 weeks of conversations. today i am more optimistic than i was one year ago. i think we are moving in the right direction. i'm finding political will in
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the other side of the table. i think that if we continue with the progress that we have been making, we will find an agreement which will change the history not only of columbia, but the whole region. simultaneously, when i took over the presidency, i said that we need to build the conditions for peace. peace is not made only by laying down the arms of the guerrillas. peace is made in the house. it is made in the schools and the social investment. i decided to make a very progressive reform, and i follow the example of great former american president abraham lincoln.
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i invited my former rivals in the campaign to become part of the government. we have here one of them. the head of the liberal party. he is very important to the party and he is now the labor minister. he is part of the government. we have created a national unity that has allowed us to improve reforms that nobody imagined possible four or five years ago in columbia, 10, 20 years. for decades, it seemed impossible. with this union, we have been able to approve those reforms. that is giving us instruments to have a very strong economy and especially, very good social
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results. the facts are there. the economy is growing almost at an average of 5.0%. we have been creating jobs for 14 months in a row. r 40 months in a row. we had a performance of 40 months, month after month, the unemployment rate was going down. we can say that very proudly colombia has created more jobs than any other country in latin america, including brazil. this is something which i think is very important. the jobs that we have been creating for the first time our formal jobs instead of informal jobs. we have put in place specific and focused public policies and taken action to fight poverty, extreme poverty.
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and besides peru, which has been the country that has performed better in this aspect, after peru we are the best performer of the whole region in terms of decreasing poverty. and also against extreme poverty we have put in place specific actions and we have been able to take on extreme poverty more than one million -- for more than one million colombians. one of the big problems that we had, one of the bottlenecks for our sustainability in the long run was how unequal the country was. the social injustice of the country. we were the second-most unequal country in the whole of latin america. after haiti.
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it was unacceptable to me and to our colombians. we said that we would break this trend, this perverse trend that we have had for so many years whereby the economy grew, but so did inequality. the rich became richer and the poor became poorer. he put in place specific actions , we broke this trend. we can also proudly say that in the last three years, columbia has lowered its inequality more than any other country except for ecuador. ecuador performed better than we did. but we are not any more than number two in the hemisphere. we are not on the average. -- we are on the average. of course, we still have tremendous inequalities. we still have almost 2 million people unemployed. of course, we still have about 30% of colombians living in poverty.
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but the progress has been tremendous. i hope is that if we reach a peace agreement, we can concentrate even more of our resources to achieve a better social indicator and more progress in that respect. in our international relations, we have also decided to change the way that we are doing things. when i arrived at the government, we were in a bit of bad shape in that respect. he free-trade agreement with the u.s. was blocked. the free-trade agreement with europe was blocked. we were on the verge of war with our neighbors.
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i said that we must change this. we have to be relevant players in the world scenario if we want to have a good internal performance. we decided to start changing the situation. the first thing i did after assuming power was to call -- until then, one of my worst enemies was mr. chavez. i invited him to come to columbia and we sat down. i said to him, listen, we have been at odds for a long time. as a journalist i have written the worst things about mr. chavez and he had said the worst things about me. i said, when we activate certain degree of maturity. you are the head of state of venezuela and i'm the head of
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state in columbia. let's work together and respect our differences. i will not become a bolivariann -- revolutionary and you will not become a liberal democrat but we can agree to disagree and respect our differences. we can try to identify those areas where we can work together for the benefit of the venezuelans and the colombians. that is the correct, mature way to handle a situation like the one that we had. we can stop insulting each other through the media. let's stop threatening each other with war. let's work together for the benefit of both people. things change dramatically. we have a working relationship with venezuela. venezuela is helping us with the peace process. it is something that i appreciate. i value it very much. with ecuador, just last week, i had a meeting with the president.
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we also had no diplomatic relations when i came into power. we were also insulting each other. my predecessor. not me, i said, let's fix things and act maturely. we did so and we said that the relations between ecuador and colombia were at the best level probably in our history. that has given us room to play a part in the region. we were elected as the secretary generals. we have been playing a role in the caribbean, central america. we are helping the caribbean and central america with the u.s. on their security issues. we have tried to transfer the technology and know-how that we have acquired from 40 years of fighting drug traffickers and terrorism.
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we have been fighting organized crime and we are now using that know-how to help the caribbean and the islands and central america, and we are now also promoting the integration through initiatives like the pacific alliance with mexico, chile, and peru -- a best- -- the four best-performing economies of latin america. we decided to integrate more profoundly and things are working quite well. it has become an attraction for many investors and for the world. try to integrate the whole we will continue with that initiative andtry to integrate the whole continent. therefore, i think we are doing well on the economic side. we are doing well on the social side.
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we are performing well on the international front. but of course, the cherry on the pie would be the peace process. if we are able to finish this peace process, then i think the future for columbia and the region would be even much better. the question i put to good people -- i put to the people is, if we have achieved those results in the middle of conflict, imagine what we can do without the conflict. the conflict is like a dead mule in the road. it has inhibited the colombians to realize our true potential and we have great potential. colombia is rich in almost everything. not only are we the richest country in biodiversity per square meter, but we have the largest species of frogs and birds in the world.
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we also have a tremendous human capital. we now have a tremendous soccer team. [laughter] we are now one of the best four teams in the world. there is a good future for columbia. i have tried to reiterate that every day to my fellow colombians and the world. of course we have problems and challenges, of course there are still many problems, we cannot fix the country that has been at war for 50 years in three years, but we are making progress. we're making progress in our relations with the u.s. could be better. -- our relations with the u.s. could not be better. i am proud to say that we have good relations with both parties and we have very good relations with obama administration and that has been working very well.
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with both sides, this has been a win-win situation. we are cooperating in things like education, technology, and for example, we are connecting every single school in columbia with broadband and fiber optics. this is going to be the first country that will be completely connected in latin america.